Abdulmutallab charged in Christmas Day terror attempt

The six-count grand jury indictment against Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged bomber in the failed Christmas Day terror attempt, carries the possibility of life in prison.

US Marshal's Service/AP
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Milan, Mich.

A federal grand jury in Michigan returned a six-count indictment on Wednesday charging alleged Christmas Day airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with attempting to use a “weapon of mass destruction” in a terror attack.

The weapon of mass destruction was Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit with 290 passengers and crew on board. If convicted Mr. Abdulmutallab faces up to life in prison.

The indictment also charges him with attempted murder, attempting to destroy an aircraft, willfully placing a bomb on an aircraft, use of a bomb during a violent crime, and possession of a bomb during a violent crime. Those counts carry maximum sentences ranging from 20 to 30 years in prison.

“This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

“Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool – military or judicial – available to our government,” Mr. Holder said.

Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to detonate explosive material he had hidden in his underwear. Rather than explode, the material caught fire and alert passengers and crew on the Christmas Day flight subdued Abdulmutallab and put out the fire.

Shortly after the incident the plane landed safely in Detroit.

Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, reportedly told investigators that he had received the explosive material and training from Al Qaeda associates in Yemen.

The federal court case in Detroit could expand dramatically should Abdulmutallab’s alleged contacts in Yemen be identified, captured, and turned over to US authorities.


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